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September 30, 2008

The Secret World of Bedtime

6 I lay her on the changing table—although she almost doesn’t fit anymore. I wrap her up in the big white blanket. The biggest cotton blanket you can imageine. Can it be that I’m still swaddling my 18-month old? Turn out the light. Give her the bottle of watered down milk. Well, it’s more water than milk by now. I won't tell her doctor I still give her a bottle. Sing her favorite song. Hum it when I’m done. Rock her some more.  And lay her just so in the crib so she rolls over about 45 degrees and goes to sleep. I can’t make a noise. I have to sneak out. Quiet.

This was the routine we did every night for my daughter about a year and a half ago. I’m amazed by what every mother will do just to get her kid to sleep: comfort blankets, stuffed animals, songs, etc. All the secrets we don’t reveal until it’s necessary to divulge the information of what goes on behind closed doors. I’m often amazed at what games and tricks we participate in for our children to slumber.

I used to have to hold my son at just the right angle when I put him into bed. He would have to face a certain way—always—or else we’d have to start the ritual all over again. Like adjusting the 'bunny ear' on an old TV set—stand on one foot, touch your nose, wink and hope for the nightly news. Nevermind the fact that neither of my children has ever been able to sleep without their lovies. Now as time has passed on, I am fortunate that their bedtime rituals have become less rigid. My kids don’t need a nightlight or me next to them while they fall asleep.

I have a friend who has to lie next to her girls (each one every night) while they rub her elbow or a certain mole on her shoulder in order to fall asleep. After four years, she’s never been able to have anyone else put them to bed. A neighbor confessed to having to sit upstairs while her kids were falling asleep in order for them to be able to fall asleep. Some kids need music, white noise, a certain bedtime story, pull ups (that they hide from their friends), a certain song, a back rub, bottles, pacifiers, blankets and so on.

All of us seem to have deep dark secrets for what goes on in our children’s dark rooms at night.

This is an orginial DC Metro Moms post.

Linda also writes about her kids at Monkey Business, and the joys of having kids less than two years apart at Baby Bunching.

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